April 18, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 0.6
Pros: Automatic location memory with no check-ins required, saves notes and time of visits
Cons: Requires persistent GPS & Wi-Fi usage
Location awareness is a common theme of many apps released in the past few years. But while most of these apps in some way or another are about discovering locales worth exploring, PlaceMe concerns itself only with the places you’ve been. All of them.
PlaceMe is a new service still in beta that creates personal accounts of the locations users visit. It is not about checking-in or sharing a location; it’s about keeping track of places you visit and then giving the option to add notes to make those visits more memorable or relevant. After reading about the app on GigaOM, I downloaded it to give it a try during my recent trip to New York. I didn’t pay much attention to it, but PlaceMe recorded my visits to Times, Herald, and Union Squares because it constantly runs in the background and automatically saves location data for locations you visit.
Why on Earth would anyone want that? Probably because that person wants to keep some type of personal journal or maintain a record. I visit New York multiple times a year and often forget good Starbucks locations, restaurants, and shopping areas. PlaceMe could gently remind me because it keeps a log of my location and saves them as “places” or “visits.” A visit is a location that I stop at once or twice for an extended period of time while a place is one that I have been to on several or frequent occasions. It then lets me add notes about the location or each visit – people you met, things you ordered, travel tips, or things to remember on the next occasion – that will be viewable the next time I’m at a location. And all of that information is available within an instant thanks to the built-in search.
PlaceMe doesn’t require any check-ins or location fixes to work because it is an always-on service that records everywhere you go. There are obvious drawbacks to this, the most noticeable being that it requires GPS and Wi-Fi on at all times, which is a drain on your battery. Also worrisome is that this provides a treasure trove of your comings and goings if your phone is ever lost or snooped on by a curious person in your life. Data has SSL encryption and is not shared with anyone, so the only privacy threat would be if your phone was lost or stolen. (Sidenote: you can delete locations manually.)
In the future, PlaceMe could be a way to get deals, tips, news alerts, and other information or offers based on your travel patterns. Unless you are some who travels often and would like an app that can save notes and get some basic stats on where you visit, this isn’t really worth exploring. But if you are always on the go and want to know how long you stayed at work on Tuesday and where you went for lunch recently, PlaceMe requires Android 2.2 or higher.